Following are suggested content and activities for educators. Printable versions of the descriptions, activities and materials are found on this website's page labeled Printable Files.
PRIMARY MODULE (K-2): What Is a Jaguar?

The principal goals of What Is a Jaguar? are to establish basic knowledge of jaguar natural history and biology, along with a connection with the species and its ecological role.

1. Become familiar with physical and behavioral characteristics of the species as an animal, as a mammal, and as a big cat.
2. Introduce basic geographical concepts through description and explanation of the jaguar's range.
3. Explore the jaguar's ecological role as a top predator and separate that role from moral judgment.
4. Introduce the concept of nature as a connected whole, not just a collection of species.

Teacher Vocabulary
(These terms appear throughout the module. Teachers should be familiar with their use, and some students may be ready to grasp the concepts as well. The latter is left to teacher discretion.)

Animal a multi-celled organism without cell walls that requires an outside source of food, possesses some ability to move and is able to reproduce.
Camouflage behavior or coloration designed to hide or conceal
Characteristic a distinguishing trait, feature or quality
Conservation sustainable use of resources
Consumer a member of an ecological community that relies on energy and materials gathered from other members of the community for its survival.
Decomposer a member of an ecological community that relies energy and materials gained by breaking down the bodies of deceased members of that community.
Desert a region where water evaporation exceeds rainfall. Extreme variations in day/night temperature are normal.
Ecosystem a natural unit in which the living and non-living parts interact to create a stable system where the flow of energy and materials is self-supporting.
Endangered species A species of plant or animal, placed on a list issued by a government agency, and that is at serious risk of becoming extinct.
Environment the total (living and non-living) surroundings of an organism.
Feline a cat, a member of the carnivore family Felidae
Forest a region where the dominant plant form is trees. Generally, rainfall occurs throughout the year. Most aspects of life are affected by the size, density and diversity of the tree species found in a forest.
Geography a science that deals with the description, distribution and interaction of the physical, biological and cultural features of the earth's surface
Grassland a region where the dominant plant form is grasses. There are distinct rainy and dry seasons.
Habitat the area or environment that provides food, water, shelter and space (in the proper arrangement) for an organism. A biome is a large unit of habitat in which similar components of habitat are found in a geographic area. The three land biomes most often used to describe the habitats of many zoo animals are: forest, grassland and desert
Hair a slender, threadlike outgrowth of the skin of an animal
Keystone species A species whose relative abundance in an ecosystem is used to gauge the overall health of that ecosystem.
Mammal a member of the class of vertebrates that is warm-blooded, bears live young, has hair and produces milk as food for its offspring.
Map a representation, usually on a flat surface, of an area
Nocturnal Active at night
Predator an animal that lives by killing and consuming other animals
Prey an animal taken by a predator as food
Producer a member of an ecological community that incorporates non-living materials and energy from the sun for its survival and growth.
Rest a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
Rosette a color marking on an animal resembling a rose or disk of foliage
Stalk to pursue prey stealthily
Symbol something that stands for or suggests something else, by reason of relationship, association, convention or accidental resemblance
Warm-blooded having a relatively high and constant body temperature relatively independent of the surroundings
Wetland     land containing much soil moisture. Two basic types of wetlands are swamps (dominated by trees) and marshes (dominated by grasses).

Materials and Lesson Preparation:
Teachers should read and become familiar with the fact sheet and reference materials included with the module before beginning the activities. Some natural history and biological science information might be new to instructors whose background is not science-specialized.

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